Our Labor of Love: An Undergraduate Pipeline for Diverse Student Scholars  

Allison C. Augustus-Wallace, PhD, MS, MNS,       
Assistant Professor-Research and Director of Undergraduate Pipeline Programs 

School of Medicine, Office of Diversity & Community Engagement

Over the past several years, the partnership between our Health Sciences Center’s Schools of Medicine, Dentistry, Public Health, and Center for IPE has dedicated many hours towards the development and implementation of our LSU Summer Health Professions Education Program (SHPEP). As a result, we welcomed two cohorts of students during the summers of 2017 and 2018, respectively, serving nearly 200 students.

Our scholars, who represented various two- and four-year institutions from throughout the state of Louisiana and the nation, were engaged for six-weeks in a combination of didactic, small learning groups, and laboratory settings. Consequently, it was determined that 100% of the scholars experienced an overall improvement or average learning gain of 20% for 2017.  For 2018, 100% of the scholars experienced an overall improvement/average learning gain of 25%.

We take this opportunity to reflect on our collective commitment and success to “our labor of love” and thank our administration, LSUHSC-NO professional schools’ students, and student-workers, as well as recognize our devoted 2017 and 2018 LSUHSC-NO SHPEP Faculty for their time and efforts with our scholars.

2017 and 2018 LSUHSC-NO SHPEP Faculty: 

Anatomy: Jay Mussell

Clinical Exposures & Workshops in Dentistry: Stephen Brisco and Suzanne Fournier (2017)

Clinical Exposures & Workshops in Medicine: Jamie Alleyn, Pierre Detiege, Jennifer Hart, Angela McLean, David Smith, Alan Kaye, and Patrick Greiffenstein

Clinical Exposures & Workshops in Public Health: Benjamin Springgate (2018)

Cultural Competency: Patricia Molina (2018)

Genetics: Fern Tsien (2018)

Health Policy: Dean Smith

Interprofessional Education (IPE): Tina Gunaldo, Sandra Andrieu, Shane Sanne, Shannon Mangum; Sonia Gasparini, Alison Davis, and Kari Brisolara

Medical Simulation Labs: Daryl Lofaso, Sergii Rusnak

Microbiology: Doug Johnston, Jennifer Cameron, Hong Xin; Graduate Students: Hannah Albritton and Diana Battaglia

Organic Chemistry & Physics: Arthur Haas

Pharmacogenomics: Paula Gregory (2018)

Pharmacogenomics Simulation Labs (Xavier University at Louisiana, College of Pharmacy): Christopher Williams (2017) and Tommy Morris (2018).

Physiology: Lisa Harrison-Bernard, Maureen Basha (2018), Michael Levitzky; Flavia Souza-Smith

Public Health-Epidemiology and Biostatistics: Ed Trapido, Tekeda Ferguson, Evrim Oral

As well, a special thanks to our LSUHSC-NO, SHPEP Fiscal Analyst, Emma Kostur, along with our colleagues in Sponsored Projects and Human Resources. A very special thanks to our academic health center partner UMCNO, which opened its doors to our student scholars to provide and invaluable exposure to clinical medicine. Finally, it is with great pleasure that we showcase several of our 2017 and 2018 LSUHSC-NO SHPEP Alumni:

2017 LSUHSC-NO SHPEP Alumni 

Pedro Jimenez Antenucci: Presently a junior majoring in Chemistry at Southeastern University of Louisiana (SELA) in Hammond, LA., who was selected during the summer of 2018, to participate in the National Science Foundation-Research Experience for Underrepresented Undergraduates (NSF-REU) at Pennsylvania State University. While there, he studied under the mentorship of Dr. David D. Boehr, Department of Chemistry and presented a poster presentation entitled, “Speed and Fidelity of the Poliovirus RNA Dependent RNA Polymerase”.

Tommy Giang: Presently a junior majoring in Chemistry at Xavier University, New Orleans, Louisiana. Mr. Giang was selected as a 2018 NSF-REU intern here at LSUHSC-NO and studied under the mentorship of Dr. Lisa Moreno-Walton MD, MS, MSCR, FAAEM UMCNO Emergency Department, LSUHSC School of Medicine. Mr. Giang presented a poster entitled, “Characteristics and Demographics of Patients Who Tested Positive for HIV in the University Medical Center New Orleans Emergency Department”.

Sam Henry: Presently a senior at Howard University, majoring in Biology and minoring in Chemistry, with medical career aspirations in orthopedics. Mr. Henry has been selected as a 2018 ARCHES Fellow, Georgetown University’s fellowship program that engages eight selected rising juniors and rising seniors interested in pursuing medical education. The experience provides access both to clinical and research activities at Georgetown University.

Aliyah Pierre: Presently a junior at LSU in Baton Rouge, majoring in Biochemistry, Ms. Pierre began her career in our pipeline programs as a participant in the Summer Science Program (SSP), housed in LSUHSC-NO, School of Medicine’s, Office of Diversity and Community Engagement. In 2018, Ms. Pierre was selected as an NSF-REU intern at LSUHSC-NO, where under the mentorship of Dr. Rinku Majumder, Associate Professor, Department of Biochemistry, she studies the molecular mechanisms involved in the Protein S (a natural anticoagulant) antibody on the plasma factor IX pathway. Her presentation was awarded second place among our REU students and third place at the overall summer student research symposium, in which 50 participants competed from throughout the LSU Health Sciences campus.

Ajah Smith: Presently, a junior majoring in Biochemistry at LSU in Baton Rouge, who has been selected as an LSU President’s Millennial Scholar, which is a programmatic initiative by the LSU, Office of Diversity, a division of the LSU, Office of Academic Affairs.


Caretia Washington: Presently, a junior majoring in Microbiology at LSU in Baton Rouge, who has been selected as an LSU President’s Millennial Scholar, which is a programmatic initiative by the LSU, Office of Diversity, a division of the LSU, Office of Academic Affairs.

As we celebrate the success of our former scholars, it is our hope that our efforts continue to support them and others of these two cohorts on a successful academic path that returns them to one of our LSUHSC-NO professional schools in the future.



Faculty Assembly Report

Chris Taylor, Ph.D.
Faculty Assembly President

The School of Medicine Faculty Assembly met for the first time of the new academic year on August 2nd, 2018.  We welcomed in our newly seated representatives:

Basic Science: Lisa Campeau, Mike Levitzky, Stefany Primeaux, and Peter Winsauer

Clinical Science: Kyle Fulton, Raegan Gupta, Ernest James, Dana LeBlanc, Margaret Moore, Mihran Naljayan, Staci Olister, and La’Nasha Tanner.

We thanked our outgoing officers for their service, in particular, past President John Hunt was thanked for his service and will remain as an at-large member of faculty assembly.

Leadership positions for the 2018-2019 academic year include:

  • President: Christopher Taylor
  • President Elect: Sanjay Kamboj
  • Secretary: Pinki Prasad
  • Administrative Council Representatives: Kyle Happel (clinical) and Peter Winsauer (basic)
  • Senators: Sanjay Kamboj (Senate President), Judy Crabtree (Senate President-Elect), Bradley Spieler (Senate Past President), Christopher Taylor, Ernest James, Lisa Campeau, Stacey Holman, and John Hunt.

Annette Arboneaux from Human Resources was invited to the last meeting and spoke to the assembly for an hour about recent changes to the 403(b) retirement vendors, along with answering questions regarding reimbursement of prescriptions written by members of LSU First health insurance for members of their own household.  She also discussed the recent change in parking benefits to a post-tax deduction from a pre-tax deduction.

Faculty Assembly meetings are held on the first Thursday of each month at 4pm in Seminar Room 7 of the 6th Floor of the Lions Building and are open to any faculty to attend.  Please reach out to your faculty assembly representatives to bring issues of interest to the general faculty to the assembly’s attention.  The roster of faculty assembly delegates can be found on our website:  https://www.medschool.lsuhsc.edu/faculty_assembly/ 


Association for Women in Science (AWIS)

Carmen Canavier, Ph.D.
President, AWIS

The Southern Louisiana chapter of Association for Women in Science (AWIS) co-sponsored a Sci-Fly speed mentoring event for high school and undergraduate summer researchers at LSUHSC on July 16. The event was organized by Dr. Allison Augustus-Wallace and was attended by over 100 participants including mentors and mentees.

The local chapter also sponsored a back-to-school mixer on August 16 for AWIS supporters, which was attended by more than fifty graduate students, postdocs and faculty. The door prize was a ticket to Painting with a Purpose, which is the local chapter’s fundraiser to support their educational and outreach effort and the Outstanding Young Scientist Travel Award. The winner of the award this fall is Ayesha Umrigar, a graduate student in the laboratory of Dr. Fern Tsien, Department of Genetics.  The next AWIS outreach event will be a science-themed booth at the Believe in Girls event for Girl Scouts to be held at the University of New Orleans on Saturday, September 29 from 9:30 am until 2:00pm. Please contact Carmen Canavier at ccanav@lsuhsc.edu if you are interested in volunteering.



New Faculty Assembly Delegates

Christopher Taylor, PhD
Faculty Assembly President 

We are pleased to announce that the following faculty have been elected to serve a 3-year term (2018 -2021) on the SOM Faculty Assembly. 

 Basic Science Delegates 

  • Lisa Campeau (Cell Biology and Anatomy) 
  • Michael Levitzky (Physiology) 
  • Stefany Primeaux (Physiology) 
  • Peter Winsauer (Pharmacology) 

Clinical Science Delegates 

  • Kyle Fulton (Pediatrics) 
  • Raegan Gupta (Pediatrics) 
  • Earnest James (Family Medicine) 
  • Dana Leblanc (Pediatrics) 
  • Margaret Moore (Surgery) 
  • Mihran Naljayan (Med-Nephrology) 
  • Stacy Olister (Pediatrics) 
  • LaNasha Tanner (OB/Gyn) 

Over the next three years, each of these delegates will provide an important voice for the faculty in the School of Medicine and each member of the faculty should feel comfortable in asking them to bring faculty concerns to the Faculty Assembly meetings.  Delegates serve an important role in all of the activities of the School of Medicine and without their help the School would be a lesser place.  Please join us in congratulating each of these delegates. 


AWIS Adopts Family for Christmas

Laura Erwin
Graduate Student 

Over the Christmas holidays, the South Louisiana chapter of the Association for Women in Science adopted one senior and one family with three children aged 3, 8 and 11 through the Salvation Army’s Christmas donor program. The donors were mostly composed of LSUHSC faculty, postdocs and students, as is the chapter itself, but we had participation from the Tulane Medical School as well. Through the coordinated efforts of Drs. Carmen Canavier and Sonia Gasparini, we provided the family with a gift card and wrapping materials in addition to the pictured gifts. The response was so generous that we will likely adopt more individuals next year.

The AWIS South Louisiana chapter is dedicated to empowering women in science and technology by providing a platform for networking opportunities and career development programs, and to promoting an interest in science among young women. The AWIS SE Louisiana chapter welcomes all persons interested in furthering the careers of women in science.

If you are interested in joining the local AWIS chapter, please contact our treasurer, Dr. Donna Neumann at dneum1@lsuhsc.edu.

If anyone is interested in learning more about us, please contact anyone on the Executive Committee; we would be glad to provide more information.

Local Executive Board members are:

  • Jane Eason (SAHP), President
  • Tekeda Ferguson (SOPH), Secretary
  • Donna Neumann (SOM), Treasurer
  • Angela Amedee (SOM), Past-President
  • Crescent Combe (SOM) – Post-Doc Representative
  • Adrienne McGinn (SOGS) – Graduate Student Representative


MD/PhD Report

Angela Amedee, Ph.D.
Director of the MD/PhD Program

Two M.D./Ph.D. Students have recently received excellent scores on the National Institutes of Health Ruth L. Kirschstein F30 grant applications and expect to receive funding.  Katelyn Robillard, a doctoral student conducting research in the laboratory of Dr. Jennifer Lentz, will receive funding from the National Eye Institute for her grant entitled, Genetic Strategies for the Treatment of Usher Syndrome in Mice.  Vincent Maffei, a doctoral student conducting research under the direction of Drs. Chris Taylor and David Welsh, received an excellent score on his application entitled, Alcohol-associated Intestinal Dysbiosis and CD8+ T-cell Activation and Immunosenescence during HIV Infection, and it was recently discussed for funding by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

MD-PhD StudentsAllyson Schreiber, a doctoral student in the laboratory of Dr. Nick Gilpin co-authored a book chapter that was recently published.  “Corticotropin-Releasing Factor Neurocircuitry and Neuropharmacology in Alcohol Drinking” for the Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology”. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29374836 )

At a recent M.D./Ph.D. forum, current students presented Dr. Kathy McDonough, former director of the program, a “heartfelt” retirement gift to thank her for years of dedication and student guidance.  On behalf of current and former M.D./Ph.D. students, Dr. McDonough was presented with a custom-made glass wine decanter made in Milan, Italy and constructed to resemble an anatomically correct human heart.



LGBT+Allies Organization for the Cultural Understanding in the Health Science (LOCUS)  

Ayesha Umrigar and Mirandy Li
Co-Presidents of LOCUS 

LGBT+Allies Organization for Cultural Understanding in the Health Sciences (LOCUS) is an inter-professional student organization aimed at advancing awareness and advocating for the LGBTQ community at LSUHSC and in New Orleans.

During this past month, we had several of our volunteers work with CrescentCare to pack and distribute condoms and educational material, which were handed out to the crowds during Mardi Gras. We greatly appreciate all the work our volunteers do. To learn about more about our volunteer opportunities, visit https://www.medschool.lsuhsc.edu/cmhe/locus/ and subscribe to our listserv.

Want to try out rock climbing and earn money for charity in the process? Well here’s your chance. New Orleans Boulder Lounge at 2360 St. Claude St hosts an LGBTQ night every month and allows a portion of the proceeds to be donated to charity. We are still in the process of selecting an LGBTQ organization to donate to, so if you have any suggestions, especially for local LGBTQ groups, please email either Ayesha Umrigar (aumrig@lsuhsc.edu) or Mirandy Li (mli2@lsuhsc.edu). Times and dates for this event will be announced through email.

Rainbow CaduceusWant to show your support for LGBTQ Healthcare?  You can purchase a rainbow caduceus pin to wear on your white coat or your lab coat.  Wearing this will demonstrate to your patients, colleagues, students, and friends that you support LGBTQ health and the LGBTQ community.  The pins are $5 and all proceeds go to support the mission of LOCUS.  If you’re interested in purchasing a pin, please email either Ayesha Umrigar (aumrig@lsuhsc.edu) or Mirandy Li (mli2@lsuhsc.edu).

Be sure to check out our website (https://www.medschool.lsuhsc.edu/cmhe/locus/) which provides links to resources for LGBTQ students, as well as for the general community. This is also where we post information about any upcoming events. If you would like to receive emails from LOCUS, there is an option on our website to subscribe to our listserv. To protect the privacy of our members, we use the “blind carbon copy” for email correspondence. This means that you can’t see the other recipients of the email and they can’t see you.

We look forward to seeing you all at our meetings and events this year.



Faculty Assembly

John Hunt, M.D.
Faculty Assembly President

The SOM Faculty Assembly met on November 1 and December 7, 2017.

At both meetings, we reviewed standing reports from The Executive committee, The School of Medicine Administrative Council, and the Faculty Senate.  Business items discussed at both meetings included:

Housekeeping issues on campus, specifically the restrooms in MEB – With the help of Dean Nelson we involved the Facilities Department with some positive results.  The overall cleanliness of the restrooms are improved.  The Facilities Department replaced or repaired a number of the lavatory facilities.  There are still some that will require extensive plumbing repairs and will be repaired later.  We will monitor progress.

Safety on campus – This was discussed in the Assembly and in executive session with the Dean.  There was a stakeholders meeting demonstrating some coordination between the schools and the hospital, an improvement over the past.  We discussed more effective ways to distribute safety information and crime alerts.  The Faculty Senate will handle this issue since it involves all of the schools, not just the Medical School.

LCME visit – Dr Richard DiCarlo, as the outgoing Dean of Students, was an invited guest and reviewed the LCME visit.  The exit visit synopsis, by the site visitors, was very favorable.  They noted only five minor, and easily correctable, deficiencies out of 93 categories.  The final adjudication is with the LCME, but looks very favorable at this point.  Good job, to all the people in the Offices of Student Affairs and Medical Education.

Part-time Faculty – Dr. Richard DiCarlo, as the new incoming Dean of Faculty, also discussed the role and representation of part-time faculty at the institution.  There are over 100 part-time faculty at the medical school.  We will survey these part-time faculty and the chairs of departments with a substantial number of part-time faculty to make sure they are represented appropriately on the Faculty Assembly and other aspects of institutional life, such as committee representation.

If you would like to add to the above mentioned issues or there are important issues that you think the Faculty Assembly needs to address, please contact us via the website suggestion box at http://www.medschool.lsuhsc.edu/faculty_assembly/ or one of your faculty assembly representatives:



Email Department Telephone Executive Committee
Clinical Science 2015-2018
Guillory, Shane sguil1@lsuhsc.edu Med 568-5722
Gottlieb-Sen, Danielle dsen@lsuhsc.edu Surgery 568-4750
Happel, Kyle khappe@lsuhsc.edu Med-Pulm/CC 568-4634 Admin. Council Rep
Hetzler, Laura (BR) lhetzl@lsuhsc.edu ENT 225-765-1765
Hunt, John jhunt2@lsuhsc.edu Surgery 568-4750 President
Lee, Olivia olee2@lsuhsc.edu Orthopedics 568-4680
McGoey, Robin rmcgoe@lsuhsc.edu Pathology 568-6031
Oge, Linda (LAF) loge@lsuhsc.edu Family Med 337-278-4121
Clinical Science 2016-2019
Ali, Murtuza mali@lsuhsc.edu Med (Cardio) 617-997-9160
Callahan, Kristin kcall1@lsuhsc.edu Psychiatry 568-6004
Delacroix, Scott sdelac@lsuhsc.edu Urology 412-1600
Holman, Stacey sholma@lsuhsc.edu OB/Gyn 568-4850
Houser, Marcella mhouse@lsuhsc.edu Pediatrics 896-2777
Mooney, Jennifer jmoone@lsuhsc.edu Surgery 568-4750
Prasad, Pinki pprasa@lsuhsc.edu Pediatrics 896-9740 Secretary/Treasurer
Spieler, Brad bspie1@lsuhsc.edu Radiology 568-5523
Surcouf, Jeffrey jsurco@lsuhsc.edu Pediatrics 896-9418
Clinical Science 2017-2020
DeSilva, Taniya tdesil@lsuhsc.edu Med (Endo) 617-997-9160
Hart, Jennifer jhart@lsuhsc.edu Med 568-5722
Kamboj, Sanjay skampo@lsushc.edu Med 568-5722
Lilje, Christian clilje@lsuhsc.edu Pediatrics 896-9751
Orangio, Guy gorang@lsuhsc.edu Surgery 568-4750
Polite, Florencia fpolit@lsuhsc.edu OB/Gyn 568-4850
Rivera, Dana driver@lsuhsc.edu Pediatrics 896-9418
Roth, Christopher croth@lsuhsc.edu Urology 568-2207
Basic Science 2015-2018
Campeau, Lisa lcampe@lsuhsc.edu Anatomy 568-2792
Lentz, Jennifer jlentz@lsuhsc.edu NC/ENT 599-0400
Levitzky, Mike mlevit@lsuhsc.edu Physiology 568-6184
Winsauer, Peter pwinsa@lsuhsc.edu Pharmacology 568-2063
Basic Science 2016-2019
Gardner, Jason jgardn@lsuhsc.edu Physiology 568-7252
Kapusta, Daniel dkapus@lsuhsc.edu Pharmacology 568-4740
Kelly, Ben bkell2@lsuhsc.edu MIP 568-6115
Sturtevant, Joy jsturt@lsuhsc.edu MIP 568-6116
Basic Science 2017-2020
Crabtree, Judy jcrabt@lsuhsc.edu Genetics 568-2963 Admin. Council Rep
Goodchild, Traci tgoodc@lsuhsc.edu Pharmacology 568-3116
Kozlowski, Pamela pkozlo@lsuhsc.edu MIP 568-6956
Taylor, Christopher ctay15@lsuhsc.edu MIP 568-4065 President Elect

MD-PhD Students Receive Research Presentation Awards 

Angela Amedee, Ph.D.
Director of the MD/PhD Program

Several MD-PhD students recently participated in the School of Graduate Studies or School of Medicine Research Day, with four receiving awards for their presentations.

At the GS Research Day held on November 3rd, two students won 1st and 2nd place awards for their presentations in the 3-minute talk competition:

  • Zachary Stielper received first place for his presentation entitled, Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Escalates Alcohol Consumption in Alcohol-Drinking Female Rats, describing his work under the mentorship of Drs. Patricia Molina and Nick Gilpin in the Department of Physiology.
  • Katelyn Robillard won second place for her presentation, Genetic Strategies for the Treatment of RP in Usher Syndrome of work done under the mentorship of Dr. Jennifer Lentz in the Neuroscience Center.

In the 10-minute talk competition, Robert Fuchs won first place for his presentation, Association of Chronic Nicotine Inhalation with Hypertension in Mice, detailing work done under the mentorship of Dr. Eric Lazartigues in the Department of Pharmacology.

At the School of Medicine Research Day held on November 17th, Hunter Hidalgo (current L2 student) won first place for his poster presentation entitled, Novel Rodent Model of Heart Failure with Preserved Ejection Fraction (HF-pEF).  In the summer of 2018, Hunter plans to continue his research as a full-time graduate student under the mentorship of Dr. David Lefer in Pharmacology Department and Cardiovascular Center of Excellence.

Congratulations to these students!


LGBT+Allies Organization for Cultural Understanding the Health Sciences (LOCUS) 

Ayesha Umrigar and Mirandy Li

LGBT + Allies Organization for Cultural Understanding in the Health Sciences (LOCUS) in an inter-professional student organization aimed at advancing awareness and advocating for the LGBTQ community at LSUHSC and in New Orleans.

We are very grateful to our volunteers for participating in the New Orleans Advocates for GLBT Elders (NOAGE) Gala on Friday, November 17 at Audubon Zoo’s Swamp Exhibit & Cajun Ballroom. We will be having more volunteer events in the near future, so stay tuned.

Be sure to check out our website (https://www.medschool.lsuhsc.edu/cmhe/locus/) which provides links to resources for LGBTQ students, as well as for the general community. This is also where we post information about any upcoming events. If you would like to receive emails from LOCUS, there is an option on our website to subscribe to our listserv. To protect the privacy of our members, we use the “blind carbon copy” for email correspondence. This means that you can’t see the other recipients of the email and they can’t see you.

We look forward to seeing you all at our meetings and events this year.